NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2022

Nazem Kadri spurned a more lucrative deal to sign with the Flames, the Senators signed Tyler Motte, the Blackhawks announced the date for Marian Hossa’s jersey retirement and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Nazem Kadri is believed to have turned down an offer from a club earlier in this summer’s free-agent period that would’ve paid him $8.5 million per season. Kadri, 31, signed a seven-year deal last month with the Calgary Flames worth an average annual value of $7 million.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

At the time, Kadri’s agent, Darren Ferris, told Flames general manager Brad Treliving that his client’s decision came down to three teams. LeBrun claims the New York Islanders were definitely interested in the former Colorado Avalanche center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to LeBrun, Kadri’s decision not to sign with the team making the bigger offer was because the fit “obviously wasn’t right for him.” He didn’t indicate which team made that offer.

LeBrun also believes that Kadri likely waited to see if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could free up the necessary cap space to sign him.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed Tyler Motte to a one-year, $1.35 million contract. The 27-year-old checking-line forward split last season with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, helping the latter reach the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A low-cost signing that provides more experienced depth to the Senators’ checking lines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks announced they’ll retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 during a ceremony on Nov. 20 prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center.

Hossa will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired. The Hall-of-Famer spent eight of his 19 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cups between 2010 and 2015.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hossa also briefly played for the Penguins in 2018, helping them reach that year’s Stanley Cup Final.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: It appears goaltender Andrew Hammond won’t be joining the Panthers on a professional tryout offer. He’s reportedly going to sign with KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk though it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Hammond, 34, split last season with the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed winger Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout offer. Former Boston Bruins forward Zach Senyshyn has accepted a PTO with the New Jersey Devils. The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Victor Rask to a PTO. The 29-year-old center split last season between the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline reported they’ve hired former NHL defenseman Roman Polak as a European-based scout.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets head equipment manager Tim Leroy is no longer with the club. He’d been in that role since their inaugural season in 2000.

TSN: Nathan Gerbe has retired as an NHL player after 11 seasons to join the Nashville Predators as their forward development coach. One of the NHL’s smallest players at 5’4”, Gerbe played 435 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 63 goals and 151 points.

Speaking of the Predators, they’ve hired Ronda Engelhardt as a North American scout based out of Minnesota. She becomes their first female scout.

CALGARY SUN: Reports indicate the roof of the Saddledome is showing signs of deterioration with netting put up as a precaution. Meanwhile, a committee tasked with finding a replacement for the aging arena has reportedly made some progress.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A crumbling Saddledome could spur along negotiations to hammer out an agreement for a new arena.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2022

An updated list of the top available unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: With NHL training camps starting next week, Steven Ellis lists the top-10 players still available in the unrestricted free agent market.

Evan Rodrigues tops the list. The 28-year-old forward plays center or wing and is coming off a career-best 43-point performance. His previous contract was a one-year deal worth $1 million.

Free agent defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently linked Rodrigues to the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames. Earlier in the month, the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins wondered if the Oilers might attempt to sign the veteran forward to a professional tryout offer but that was prior to their recent signing of Justin Bailey to a PTO.

Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban sit second and third on Ellis’ list. A skillful left winger, the 26-year-old Milano earned $1.7 million last season. Subban, 33, isn’t the star he once was but could still bring value to a team’s blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There hasn’t been much recent talk about where Milano could end up. He could return to the Ducks on a cheaper one-year contract.

Subban is the most recognizable name on Ellis’ list. The decline in his skills means his days of big-money contracts are over. Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Marc Antoine Godin dismissed the notion of a reunion between Subban and the Montreal Canadiens, suggesting the Habs instead look at Anton Stralman if they want to add a right-shot free agent defenseman.

Speaking of Stralman, he’s number 5 on Ellis’ list behind winger Tyler Motte.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quiet in recent weeks regarding these two. Like most on this list, they could either end up signing one-year contracts on the eve of training camp or sign professional tryout offers in hopes of earning one-year deals before the start of the regular season.

Center Tyler Ennis, winger Daniel Sprong, winger Alex Galchenyuk, center Victor Rask and winger Alex Chiasson round out the remainder of Ellis’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These players haven’t surfaced much in the rumor mill. They seem more likely to be PTO candidates leading up to training camp.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, a look at some of the notable players still available in the unrestricted free agent market and some tryout candidates for the Golden Knights.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evan Rodrigues, Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban top Steven Ellis’ list of the top unrestricted free agents entering September.

Rodrigues is a 28-year-old center coming off a career-best 43-point performance with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Milano, a 26-year-old winger, spent last season skating alongside promising Trevor Zegras on the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks. Subban is no longer the player he used to be but the 33-year-old defenseman could bring good value for the right price.

Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues has been linked to the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some other clubs interested in him. Milano could be a good cost-effective option as a playmaking winger.

Subban is the biggest name on this list. The former Norris Trophy winner could help a club seeking an experienced defenseman for their third defense pairing or a power-play specialist on the blue line. Oddsmakers have linked him to the Edmonton Oilers but there has been no media gossip tying him to the club.

Former Ducks winger Sam Steel, veteran forward Sam Gagner and winger Tyler Motte fill out spots four through six on Ellis’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steel (24) is the youngest player on this list and could be an affordable reclamation project for a team willing to invest the time in his development. The versatile Gagner, 32, had a respectable 31 points with the rebuilding Red Wings last season and could be a good depth addition. Motte, 27, acquitted himself well as a checking-line winger with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.

Defenseman Anton Stralman, center Tyler Ennis, winger Daniel Sprong and winger Zach Aston-Reese round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman could draw interest from teams seeking an experienced and reliable right-shot rearguard. Ennis and Sprong are well-traveled players who could be enticing to cap-strapped or cost-conscious clubs seeking decent depth forwards. The same applies to Aston-Reese.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on where these players could end up in the comments section below. 

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Rodrigues, Milano, Sprong, Steel and Aston-Reese also showed up on Owen Krepps’ list of proposed professional tryout offer candidates for the Golden Knights. Joe Thornton and Michael Stone were the other NHL players on his listing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those players on Ellis’ list could end up accepting tryout offers with the Golden Knights or other NHL clubs next month hoping to earn jobs in training camp or through preseason play.

It will be interesting to find out what Thornton’s plans are. He played with the Florida Panthers last season on a one-year contract but saw action in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. Now 43, Thornton is among the greatest playmakers in league history but his performance has steadily declined in recent years as age and the grind of 24 NHL seasons have caught up with him.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2022

The latest on Nazem Kadri and the Islanders, the Canadiens reportedly express an interest in Anthony Beauvillier and an update on Tyler Motte in today’s NHL rumor mill.

IS KADRI SIGNING WITH ISLANDERS COMING SOON?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited NHL insider John Shannon saying he believes the New York Islanders could soon sign Nazem Kadri, perhaps by the end of this week. Appearing on the Sekeres & Price podcast, Shannon felt the holdup was general manager Lou Lamoriello has to free up sufficient salary-cap space for Kadri’s contract.

Free agent center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Information about a player acquisition rarely leaks out from a team run by Lamoriello. Shannon expressed amazement that it had, adding he got the info “from a very good source” that it’s going to happen soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shannon is among the more reliable NHL insiders. He isn’t the only one linking Kadri to the Islanders but is the first to suggest the 31-year-old center could be signing with them by week’s end.

The Islanders have over $11 million in salary-cap space with restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows to re-sign. It’s rumored they’ve offered Kadri a seven-year (!) contract worth an average annual value of $7 million.

They’ll have to shed a significant salary to free up enough room for all of them. Josh Bailey ($5 million AAV) and Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million) are the rumored cost-cutting trade candidates. Speaking of the latter…

CANADIENS INTERESTED IN BEAUVILLIER?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Canadiens are believed to be among the teams with an interest in Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier. However, the Isles’ unwillingness to retain salary is a sticking point in these exploratory discussions.

Murphy points out the Canadiens are pressed against the $82.5 million salary cap for the coming season. They’d have to send a roughly equivalent salary to the Isles in return, with Mike Hoffman ($4.5 million), Christian Dvorak ($4.4 million) or Joel Armia ($3.4 million) as possible candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beauvillier is considered by some observers as a “good fit” with the Canadiens, in no small part because he’s a Quebec native. However, the Canadiens have plenty of top-nine wingers in Hoffman, Cole Caufield, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin and Evgenii Dadonov. That’s assuming top prospect Juraj Slafkovsky doesn’t crack the lineup this season.

Unless they’re shipping one of those guys (Hoffman?) to the Isles or another team, I don’t see where Beauvillier fits into their lineup, especially given his cap hit.

UPDATE ON MOTTE

CANUCKS ARMY: Mike Gould cites CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal recently reporting between four-five teams have shown a serious interest in Tyler Motte. The 27-year-old checking-line winger spent last season with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers. Dhaliwal explains financial constraints are the hold-up as teams are trying to shed salary to make room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Motte earned an annual cap hit of $1.225 million on his previous contract. He’s not that expensive to sign but the limited increase of the salary cap for the coming season has made it difficult for teams to add affordable depth talent.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 17, 2022

The Avalanche clinch the top seed in the Western Conference, the Flames, Blues and Bruins secure playoff berths, Kirill Kaprizov sets a new Wild scoring record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche secured the top seed in the Western Conference with 116 points by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 7-4. Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher each scored twice while rookie forward Ben Meyers scored in his first NHL game. Jordan Staal scored twice for Carolina but left the game with an undisclosed injury following a hit by Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar. Hurricanes goaltender Frederic Andersen left the game in the third period with an apparent injury to his left leg. The Hurricanes remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had two goals and two assists in a 9-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes. Elias Lindholm had a goal and three assists for the Flames, who sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 101 points. They clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day following the Edmonton Oilers’ win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Speaking of the Oilers, they blanked the Golden Knights 4-0 with Mike Smith kicking out 39 shots for his second shutout in as many games. Kris Russell, Cody Ceci, Warren Foegele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the goal scorers as the Oilers sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 94 points. The Golden Knights (87 points) sit four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

After blowing leads of 4-1 and 5-3, the St. Louis Blues bested the Minnesota Wild 6-5 on an overtime goal by Brayden Schenn to clinch a playoff berth. Schenn and teammate Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and two assists as the Blues hold second place in the Central Division with 100 points. Minnesota center Ryan Hartman scored twice and collected an assist while teammate Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 43rd goal to set a single-season franchise record. The Wild are one point back of the Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Nick Leddy left the game after taking a stick near one of his eyes. He’ll be undergoing further evaluation. Meanwhile, Wild forward Tyson Jost suffered a lower-body injury and will miss today’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Boston Bruins secured a playoff berth by holding off the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 thanks to early first-period goals by Trent Frederic and Erik Haula and a 23-save effort by goaltender Jeremy Swayman. With 97 points, they hold the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. Danton Heinen replied for the Penguins, who sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 97 points. Earlier in the day, they announced goalie Tristan Jarry is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have already clinched a playoff berth so Jarry’s absence won’t hurt them in that regard. However, this could be a problem if he’s still sidelined when the playoffs open in early May.

New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves to shut out the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Alexis Lafreniere put the game out of reach with two third-period goals. The Rangers are tied with the Hurricanes with 104 points but the former holds first in the Metro division with 42 regulation wins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left this game in the first period with a lower-body injury. It was only his fourth match since missing 31 games with a wrist injury. On Friday, the club revealed winger Tyler Motte will be sidelined for at least the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

An overtime goal by Mark Giordano gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Giordano finished the game with a goal and two assists while Mitch Marner scored twice for the Leafs (104 points) as they tied a franchise record with their 49th win of the season. They hold a four-point lead over the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators played without Colin White as the 25-year-old center was placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

The Lightning, meanwhile, got four-point performances from Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman to down the Winnipeg Jets 7-4. Kyle Connor tallied his 43rd goal of the season for the Jets, who sit 10 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets aren’t eliminated yet from the postseason chase but they’re on the brink.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars (91 points) maintained their grip on that final Western wild-card position by nipping the San Jose Sharks 2-1. Tyler Seguin and Michael Raffl scored for the Stars while Jake Oettinger made 23 saves for the win.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi scored his 20th goal of the season as his club held off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Juuse Saros picked up the win by stopping 28 shots while Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist. The Predators are tied with the Stars but they hold the first wild-card spot with 35 regulation wins.

The Los Angeles Kings strengthened their hold on third place in the Pacific Division with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dustin Brown and Phillip Danault scored first-period goals and Jonathan Quick made 21 stops as the Kings sit three points ahead of the Golden Knights with 90 points and are four back of the Oilers.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 47th goal in an 8-4 thrashing of the Montreal Canadiens. Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov each had four-point performances as the Capitals hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 94 points. Canadiens center Nick Suzuki reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career while Ryan Poehling tallied twice.

The Seattle Kraken got a shootout goal from Ryan Donato to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Kraken rookie Matty Beniers scored his first NHL goal in his second game while Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves for the win.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and an assist while teammate Kyle Okposo netted his 20th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2022

The Panthers earn another comeback win, the Avalanche’s Cale Makar downs the Jets in overtime, 2021 first-overall pick Owen Powers signs with Sabres, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers earned their third multi-goal comeback victory for the third time in their last four games by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Sam Bennett netted the winner in the third period while Aleksander Barkov and Claude Giroux each had two points as Florida overcame a 3-1 deficit to pick up their league-leading 30th home win. With 106 points, the Panthers hold a six-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they failed to pad their lead in the Metropolitan Division after falling 2-1 to the New York Islanders. Kyle Palmieri tallied the game-winner with 15 seconds remaining in regulation after Carolina center Vincent Trocheck tied the game 32 seconds beforehand. The Hurricanes remain two points up on the New York Rangers for first place in the division.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar tied a franchise record with his third overtime goal of the season in a 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, Andre Burakovsky and Alex Newhook finished the night with two points each as the Avalanche hold first place in the overall standings with 108 points. Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers each had two goals and an assist as the Jets (77 points) kept their fading playoff hopes alive to move within seven points of the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets captain Blake Wheeler missed this game after suffering an undisclosed injury during Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

The St. Louis Blues overcame a 3-1 deficit to tame the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on an overtime goal by Robert Thomas. Ville Husso kicked out 35 shots for the win as the Blues moved into a tie with the Wild with 92 points, though the latter holds second place in the Central Division with a game in hand. Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 41st goal of the season and only needs one more to tie the franchise record.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No sophomore slump for Kaprizov following his Calder Memorial Trophy season. He’s among the league’s top-10 scorers, proving worthy of the $9 million per season cap hit on his contract while breaking the Wild’s single-season points record.

An overtime goal by Charlie Coyle lifted the Boston Bruins over the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Jake DeBrusk opened the scoring and got the primary assist on Coyle’s goal while Linus Ullmark stopped 29 shots for the win. The Bruins moved into third place in the Atlantic Division with 95 points, one ahead of the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins got the win with winger David Pastrnak and defenseman Hampus Lindholm on the sidelines. Speaking of the Bolts, they’ve dropped four straight after four consecutive wins.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed top prospect Owen Power to a three-year entry-level contract. Power was the Sabres’ first-round pick (first overall) in the 2021 NHL draft.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets inked prospect Kent Johnson to an entry-level deal. They selected him with the fifth-overall pick in last year’s draft.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have secured their backup goaltender for next season by signing Spencer Martin to a two-year, one-way contract.

NHL.COM: The NHL department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane $5,000.00 for kneeing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

Nashville Predators forward Colton Sissons was fined $2,500.00 for spearing Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris on Thursday.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Tyler Motte is sidelined for the near future with an upper-body injury. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season on April 29. Forward Filip Chytil is also out with an upper-body injury but is expected to return to action soon.

NHL.COM: Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay is the 2022 winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top college hockey player in the United States. The undrafted McKay will be free to sign with any team following the national championship game on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McKay is named after Hall-of-Fame goaltender Ken Dryden and wears the same number (29) in his honor.